The Man

Birth of a Swiss Watchmaker's son

 

Second in a family of seven, Louis Chevrolet was born on December 25th, 1878, at La Chaux-de-Fonds, where his father worked in the watch industy.

In 1880, with the end of the economic crisis, his father, a talented watchmaker, went back to work at Bonfol, his home village. The family then lived at Beurnevésin, a neighboring village.

The itinerary

The path of an adventurer

In 1887, the family settled in Beaune, France. By then, Louis was 8 years old. He became a bicycle mechanic and competed in cycling events. It was during this period that he met the american billionaire Vanderbilt who offered Louis work in the USA.

However, he continued his French tour, working at the Darracq auto manufacturing plants in Paris. Louis eventually decided to leave, and in 1900 he set foot in American soil, traveling from Québec to De Dion America, in New York.

The driver

The exploits of a racing driver

In 1905, Louis Chevrolet started his career at Fiat. With this team, he won his first race. The following year, he broke the One-Mile record, driving a Darracq.

William Durant, CEO of the Buick group, takes notice of his feats and gives him the opportunity to participate in the development of the Buick Bug.

In 1909, aftre winning numerous races, he was ranked 2nd best pilot in the American Championship.

Frontenac 

The Chevrolet Motor Watch Company of Michigna was founded on November 3rd, 1911. It was under this badge that the Classic Six was launched, a luxurious sedan still remembered in AMerica as wonder of innovation of its time.

Louis took advantage of a trip to Europe to revisit his childhood years. Upon his return, and following a dispute, he ceded his shares and the Chevrolet name to his associate, William Durant. True to his motto, "Never give up", he developed in 1914 his own racing cad for his Frontenac team.

Groundbreaking due to its power and its light aluminum construction, this car would bring both glory and death to his brother Gaston, posthumously crowned National Champion.

The Legend

End of a man, beginning of a legend

 

Following the death of his brother Gaston, Louis recovererd his passion for mechanics. In 1921, he founded with his brother Arthur the "Chevrolet Brothers Manufacturing Company", dedicated to developing engines for the automobile and aviation industries.

As the 1929 crisis spread, Louis left the company to his brother and found work at the Chevrolet plant in Detroit.

Consumed by illness and family losses, he died on June 6th, 1941, and was buried in the public cemetary in Indianapolis.

Today, a memorial stands there to honor the indelible imprint of a man who left his mark in the US industry,